November 30, 2015

National Library of Medicine Posts RFQ for Software to Mine Social Media

From NextGov:

The National Library of Medicine wants to mine social media to learn how people are using its services and how it can make those services better, solicitation documents show.

The library plans to contract for a system to mine Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news sites, discussion boards [and] video and image sharing sites to determine how health-related emergencies such as a West Nile virus outbreaks affect how people use library resources, according to a request for quotation posted Monday.


A separate section of the contract focuses on mining social media to evaluate how library resources are being used by doctors and research scientists. That includes searching social media for citations to scientific papers available through library databases and assessing how the volume of those citations changes when the library modifies database design features.

Read the Complete Article

Read the Complete RFQ (via

Selected Material From the RFQ:

The purpose of this requirement is to obtain software capable of examining such social media sites as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news sites, discussion boards, video and image sharing sites with inquiries relevant to NLM issues and with full respect for privacy rights of those who created the social media entries.

Project 1: Monitoring Usage of NLM Resources by Consumers

By examining relevant tweets and other comments, NLM will gain insights to extent of use, context for which information was sought, and effects of various health-related announcements and events on usage patterns including:
• Relative frequency with which various NLM resources are mentioned
• Comparison of NLM mentions with mentions of “competitors”
• Identification of urgent information requests for which NLM could “push” vetted information free of advertising or commercial interest
• Effects of topical health issues such as “mad cow” or West Nile Virus or disasters etc. on use of NLM resources
• Effect of changing NLM’s interface design and textual/graphic style on usage by consumers
• Effectiveness of NLM use of social media to distribute health information
• Comparable analyses of other NIH, DHHS and private sector health information sources
• Demographic characteristics of those whose messages are being examined to the extent permitted by privacy regulations.
• Ascertaining public interest in using social media for health-related purpose
• Value of tweets and other messages as teaching tools and change-agents for health-relevant behavior

Project 2: Monitoring Usage of NLM Resources by Health Professionals and Biomedical Scientists

By examining relevant tweets and other comments, NLM will gain insights to extent of use, context for which information was sought, and reactions to information provided to clinicians involved in patient care, and scientists focused on research issues, including:

• Citations of published papers available from NLM bibliometric databases
• Citations of published papers available from NLM full-text references
• Information-seeking behavior of clinicians and scientists
• Effects on usage of modifying database design features
• Professional comments about value of NLM’s resources
• Comparison of use of NLM resources to use of those provided by “competitors”
• Regional and international differences in information-seeking behavior by professionals

Read the Complete RFQ (via

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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